That’s why your camera lens needs a fluorine coating!


Have you ever wondered what fluorine lens coating does to your optics? Why is it usually a high-end coating reserved for professional lenses, often costing thousands of dollars?

Simply put, a fluorine coating is a water and oil repellent that is applied to the front lens of a lens to a) make it more resistant to liquids and particles, b) make it easier to clean, and c) protect it. damage from moisture, dirt, dust and fingerprints.

Not to be confused with fluoride (which protects your teeth from decay, but isn’t so good at protecting your camera lenses!) Fluoride compounds repel other atoms. As such, fluorine is one of the key components of non-stick Teflon coatings for kitchen pans – and those same non-stick properties also apply when fluorine is applied to camera lenses.

Not only does this repel oil and moisture in the first place (so, for example, raindrops will slide off the lens element rather than form droplets), but it also makes stubborn particles (such as fingerprints, mud or grease) much easier to wipe off. . As you can see in these demo videos from Nikon and Tamron, the coating can protect the lenses against everything from water droplets to oil paint:

“The coating works in two ways – firstly it reduces static electricity so that small particles are less likely to be attracted and attach to the surface. Secondly it is ‘hydrophobic’ so it repels static. moisture and makes cleaning water drops, like rain, out of a much easier goal.”

It’s the canon explanation (opens in a new tab)who introduced fluorine coatings on the Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6L IS USM after years of using it on low-pass filters for DSLR image sensors.

“Cleaning fluoride coated lenses is also much easier. Often you will only need a blower bulb and a soft, dry cloth to remove any dust that has settled. In fact, if you use a solvent to clean the lens, you may find it harder as the coating will reduce the solvent to very small beads of liquid which are harder to wipe off.

“The fluorine coating is applied on top of other lens coatings and is added to the front and rear lenses because they are the ones most likely to come into contact with dirt.”

So the next time you wonder if the extra money is worth it for a fluoride lens coating, you’ll know what you’re getting!

Read more:

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(opens in a new tab)Lens Terminology Translator (opens in a new tab)
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(opens in a new tab)The best lenses for portraits
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